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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Forest and Rangeland Birds of the United States

Natural History and Habitat Use

Black-chinned Sparrow -- Spizella atrogularis

RANGE: Breeds from south-central California east to southern Nevada and southwest Utah, south to Arizona, New Mexico, western Texas, and Mexico. Winters from coastal California, southern Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, south into Baja California and Mexico.

STATUS: Uncommon.

HABITAT: In desert regions, inhabits tall, dense sagebrush or other brushland areas covered with a variety of plant species. Prefers slopes with rocky outcrops and scattered pinyon or juniper trees. In the Far West, inhabits dry chaparral habitat with a variety of shrubs and scrub oak.

SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Chaparral and sage habitat with rocky outcrops.

NEST: Generally builds a compact cup nest of dry grasses, often lined with animal hair, typically placed at the base of a shrub or in the lower portions of sage and shrub, occasionally up to 40 inches above the ground.

FOOD: Forages through sage and chaparral habitat, presumably taking a variety of seeds, berries, and soft-bodied insects. (Only limited information is available on its food habits.)

REFERENCES: Phillips et al. 1964.

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